Refinement Database

Database on Refinement of Housing, Husbandry, Care, and Use of Animals in Research

This database, created in 2000, is updated every three months with newly published scientific articles, books, and other publications related to improving or safeguarding the welfare of animals used in research.

Links to the full text for publications that appear in open access journals or are published on the AWI website are provided under the abstract.

Tips for using the database:

  • This landing page displays all of the publications in the database.
  • Use the drop-down menus to filter these publications by Animal Type and/or Topic.
  • Clicking on a parent category (e.g., Rodent) will include publications relating to all the items in that category (e.g., Chinchilla, Gerbil, Guinea pig, etc.).
  • You may also add a keyword to further narrow your search.
  • Please note that at this time, only publications dated 2010 or later (with some exceptions) can be filtered by Animal Type and Topic. Most publications older than 2010 can only be searched by keyword. 
Stress-induced hyperthermia (SIH) is a physiological response to acute stressors in mammals, shown as an increase in core body temperature, with redirection of blood flow from the periphery to vital organs. Typical temperature assessment methods...
OBJECTIVE: To perform a retrospective, multicenter observational study that compares the agreement of rectal temperature with the temperature measured with noncontact infrared thermometer (NCIT) in a population of dogs and cats. ANIMALS: 168 dogs and...
Glucocorticoid (GC) stress hormones are well-known for their impact on phenotypic traits ranging from immune function to behaviour and cognition. For that reason, consistent aspects of an individual’s physiological stress response (i.e. GC responsiveness) can...
The study of human–animal interactions has provided insights into the welfare of many species. To date, however, research has largely focused on human relationships with captive mammals, with relatively little exploration of interactions between humans...
Thyroid hormones are essential for metabolism, energy homeostasis and reproduction. Hormones can be measured in various biological source materials: blood, feces, urine, saliva and others. The aim of our study was to verify usefulness of...
Changes in skin mucus production and composition offer a new means to study how fish cope with changes in the environment. We explored the utility of skin mucus as an indicator of physiological responses and...
Research to assess the relationship between cats and humans is in a nascent stage. Some studies have assessed the stress status in cats using physiological indicators, such as the cortisol hormone, but have not focused...
This study into the behaviour of domestic cats (Feliscatus) aimed to assess the relationship between behavioural expressions obtained via the Qualitative Behaviour Assessment (QBA) and quantitative outcomes of temperament tests. Four behavioural tests were used...
The aim of this study was to examine the personality structure of domestic ferrets (Mustela putorius furo) by using owner-based reporting of personality traits. A total of 743 ferret owners participated in an online questionnaire...
The advanced development of sensor technologies has led to the emergence of fish biosensors that are currently used for research and commercial purposes. AEFishBIT is a miniaturized biosensor attached to fish operculum that measures physical...
Chronic exposure to stressful environments can negatively impact cats' health and welfare, affecting behavioral, autonomic, endocrine, and immune function, as with cats in shelters. Low-stress handling practices likely improve shelter cat welfare, but data supporting...
As pets are considered members of the family, their health has received widespread attention. Since pets cannot talk and complain when they feel uncomfortable, monitoring vital signs becomes very helpful in disease detection, as well...
Respirometry has become the standard method for measuring the metabolic rate of fishes. Traditionally, respirometry has required the fish to be kept in captivity and tested under controlled conditions; however, many species do not readily...
In mouse (Mus musculus) models of diabetic nephropathy (DN), one of the most important read-outs is the 24-h urinary albumin excretion (UAE). The 24-h urine collection is usually performed by single housing mice in metabolic...
Salivary immunoglobulin A (sIgA) has been proposed as a potential indicator of welfare for various species, including Asian elephants, and may be related to adrenal cortisol responses. This study aimed to distinguish circadian rhythm effects...
The present study assessed the diurnal variation in salivary cortisol in captive African elephants during routine management (baseline) and in relation to a potential stressor (translocation) to evaluate to what extent acute stress may affect...
Zebrafish are an important and expanding experimental system for brain research. We describe a noninvasive electrophysiology technique that can be used in living larvae to measure spontaneous activity in the brain and spinal cord simultaneously...
Body temperature is an important physiological parameter in many studies of laboratory mice. Continuous assessment of body temperature has traditionally required surgical implantation of a telemeter, but this invasive procedure adversely impacts animal welfare. Near-infrared...
European sea bass is a marine teleost which can inhabit a broad range of environmental salinities. So far, no research has studied the physiological response of this fish to salinity challenges using modifications in skin...
Temperament can be defined as interindividual differences in behavior that are stable over time and in different contexts. The terms ‘personality’, ‘coping styles’, and ‘behavioral syndromes’ have also been used to describe these interindividual differences...
Steroids, providing information regarding several biological patterns including stress and sexual behavior, have been investigated in different matrices in laboratory mice. Data regarding hair quantification, indicative of longer timespans when compared to blood and saliva...
Identifying coping styles in cats may lead to improved health and welfare. The aims of this study were to (1) identify individual differences in response to acute confinement, and (2) to assess the predictability of...
Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) populations, both in the wild and in captivity, have been continually declining over the decades. The present study examined the physiological stress response of captive Asian elephants in relation to body...
Cortisol levels in fish skin mucus have shown to be good stress indicators in farm fish exposed to different stressors. Its applicability in free-ranging animals subject to long-term environmental stressors though remains to be explored...
Individual animal personalities affect experiences of zoo environments, and thus potentially welfare. Incorporating keeper knowledge of animal personality in a reliable way has great value in optimising welfare in zoo-housed animals. Assessment of animal personality...

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